As Donald Trump‘s Monday night interview with “Axios on HBO” has made its way around the Internet, people continue to have strong reactions to Trump’s answers to certain questions. Four years into his presidency, critics still couldn’t believe Trump’s disregard for life when it came to certain issues, particularly the life of civil rights icon John Lewis and the thousands of American lives affected by the coronavirus.
The interview started off with Trump and Jonathan Swan discussing the coronavirus pandemic in the United States. Despite the ongoing surges in new cases and a human death toll that surpasses other nations, Trump continued to speak well of his administration’s handling of the pandemic. When challenged on the death toll, Trump’s response was, “it is what it is.”
“I think it’s under control,” Trump said to Swan, to which he replied, “How? A thousand Americans are dying a day.”
“They are dying. That’s true. And you — it is what it is,” Trump said. “But that doesn’t mean we aren’t doing everything we can. It’s under control as much as you can control it.” Despite Trump later describing the deaths as a “serious situation” in the interview, he continually downplayed the gravity of the virus in the U.S.
For example, he repeatedly mentioned the proportions of deaths to confirmed coronavirus cases, rather than the proportion of deaths to the U.S. population, a number which is arguably more telling of the pandemic in the U.S. The country currently has less than 5% of the world’s population but about 25% of global deaths from COVID-19, according to CNN.
When the conversation turned to the death of John Lewis, Trump couldn’t find anything nice to say. Swan asked Trump how he thinks history will remember the influential Congressman and civil rights activist. Trump had this to say:
“I don’t know. I really don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know John Lewis. He chose not to come to my inauguration.”
When asked if he thought Lewis was impressive, Trump said, “I can’t say one way or the other.”
Trump then continued to whine about Lewis not coming to his inauguration.
“I find a lot of people impressive. I find many people not impressive,” he said. “He didn’t come — he didn’t come to my inauguration. He didn’t come to my state of the union speeches. And that’s OK. That’s his right.”
“He should’ve come. I think he made a big mistake,” he added.
Trump had nothing but positive vibes for alleged child sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell, however. When Swan brought up her arrest, Trump said he wishes her well.
Maxwell is the former girlfriend and alleged accomplice of Jeffrey Epstein, who died in jail after being hit with federal charges on child sex trafficking. When Swan questioned why Trump wished Maxwell well, considering her charges, Trump responded:
“Well, first of all you don’t know that. Her friend or boyfriend (Epstein) was either killed or committed suicide. She’s now in jail. Yeah, I wish her well. I’d wish you well. I’d wish a lot of people well. Good luck. Let them prove somebody was guilty.”
Maxwell faces charges of enticement and conspiracy to entice minors, as young as 14, to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, transportation and conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and two counts of perjury. She has denied these allegations.
Along with wishing Maxwell “well” and refusing to give John Lewis any kind of praise, Trump also gave his familiar spiel of how he’s done more for Black Americans than any other president. He said he’s done more than any POTUS “with the possible exception” of Abraham Lincoln.
Friendly reminder that this is the same president who pushed racist conspiracy theories about former President Barack Obama, the same president who has yet to adequately address the grief and rage many Black people feel concerning police violence, the same president who privately referred to some African nations as “sh**hole countries,” and the same president who condemned protests against police brutality from mostly Black NFL players.
Friendly reminder that in a January Washington Post-Ipsos poll, more than eight in 10 Black Americans also believe Trump is racist. Yet, Trump still continued to gloat about passing the First Step criminal justice reform act (which has been criticized by activists) and signing a bill that funds Historically Black Colleges and Universities as a way to argue his graciousness to the Black community.
You can check out Trump’s interview with Swan below for more absurd comments, then check out people’s reactions in the tweets below.